While in Amarillo on a 3-day weekend we were able to tour the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum. It is an amazing museum which honors people and horses who contributed to the growth of the American Quarter Horse. It is also the world’s largest equine breed registry and membership organization. I knew we were in for a treat when we walked up and saw these huge and incredible larger-than-life bronze statues of history-making American Quarter Horses. They call this the Wall of Honor, and it welcomes visitors to the Hall of Fame from two unique perspectives. From the east, a light sculpture displays a herd of running American Quarter Horses; from the west, granite bricks preserve and pay tribute to the people and horses meaningful to generous donors. It is quite memorable.
We made our way inside the museum, paid for our tickets, and started in the Grand Hall. After we walked in, we couldn’t help but see the impressive emblem depicting the American Quarter Horse. It is very large as you can see from the picture above. After we took a few pictures, we headed into the main part of the museum to follow the journey through a timeline of the history of the American Quarter Horse.
While touring the American Quarter Horse Museum we were able to view personal items from inductees such as Joe Kirk Fulton, the first mounted mascot for Texas Tech University, or Rugged Lark who served as an equine event ambassador to the 1996 Olympics. I thought that was pretty cool to see. Another exhibit I enjoyed seeing was the Champions Gallery. In this gallery you get to relive the American Quarter Horse World Championship Shows and American Quarter Horse racing action that made champions. It was quite impressive. We went through names and tried to see which ones if any we remember. It was fun.
After walking for a while, we took a short break and headed toward the Ken & Laina Banks Theater. They have a 10 minute video which teaches you about the breed and his many roles in today’s world, from a work partner on the ranch to an athlete on the racetrack or in the show arena. The theater also displays a collection of Orren Mixer paintings. They were interesting, We also learned that Mixer was once commissioned to paint the ideal American Quarter Horse and went on to paint portraits of many of the American Quarter Horses who now live on in the Hall of Fame. We were both glad we took the time to sit and watch this short movie.
I had never thought much about the Hall of Fame for Quarter Horses until we visited the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. I learned quite a bit, as it was very informative. In fact, I learned, to be considered by the Hall of Fame, anyone may nominate either people or horses to be considered. Nominations from the membership are due by October 1. After being screened, they are sent to the Hall of Fame committee which meets in the following March. Nominations stay active for three years, then must sit out for three years before being considered again. People being considered may be alive or deceased, but horses must be deceased. So much I didn’t know before we went.
We had a very enlightening experience at the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in Amarillo and would enjoy visiting again on a future trip to Amarillo. Here is a link to their website with hours, prices, etc. Hope you are able to visit on a trip to the area one day.
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